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Tunisian Inès Boubakri at the 2019 African Games in Morocco. Photo: Farid Achache RFI

On Monday, August 26, Tunisian Inès Boubakri again shone on the continent by winning a new gold medal at the African Games against the Egyptian Noha Hany (15-8). A bronze medalist at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the fencer now looks to the Tokyo Games in hopes of winning his first gold medal in a world competition. Meet.

From our special envoy in Rabat,

The fencing warm room is practically empty. Inès Boubakri has a series of abdominals before starting her marathon day for a new title at the African Games. She was already in gold in Algeria in 2007 and in Brazzaville in 2015.

Inusable Inès Boubakri

Last June, the fencer won his 13th title at the African Championships in Bamako, Mali. At 30 and despite a busy career, Inès Boubakri seems indestructible. Whatever the cost, the Tunisian athlete continues to devote his life to his sport, determined to one day win the world or Olympic gold. The bronze medal at Rio in 2016 is not enough to satisfy his thirst.

However, four years after his disappointment at the London Games, the fencer had taken his revenge in Brazil. While she lost in the quarter-finals in 2012, the Tunisian woman was on the podium on Wednesday, August 10 on Brazilian soil. A date that has entered the history of fencing: beating Russian Aida Shanaeva, Ines Boubakri became the first African woman medalist at the Olympic Games in fencing.

The daughter of Henda Zaouali, who had herself participated in the Atlanta Games in 1996 (defeated in the first round with the sword), was living one of the most beautiful days of her life with her husband, the French Fleurettist Erwann Le Péchoux , by his side. " I hope it will be a message for all Tunisians. For the Tunisian woman, for the Arab woman ! To say that we must believe, the woman exists, she has her place in society, "she said.

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Trust and more

" In my head, I'm stronger ," she says today. I have more confidence in myself, I tell myself that everything is possible. In the semifinals in Rio, I was not far (12-9 defeat to the Italian Elisa Di Francisca in foil, ed). For the bronze medal, I was led and I thought I had to believe it. You must never give up . At the 2018 World Cup in China, after World Cup 2014, she returned with bronze around her neck. " I proved to those who doubted that Rio was not a coincidence, " she says, a little disappointed by some critics.

Meanwhile, the Rio Medal is in a corner of the apartment next to that of her husband. " I think back when I clean and I give a rag on the box , she says in a burst of laughter. I still have shivers. But Rio is done and there is a sequel to write. "

Every day, Inès Boubakri gets up to " fulfill " her dream. But she does not stop at that. She often becomes an ambassador for women's sport in the Arab world and on the African continent. " I had the chance to do a promotional campaign with the Nike equipment manufacturer to represent the Middle East woman. I wanted to send two messages to girls : to practice sport and to believe in one's dreams. I'm proud of that, "she says.

"I hope Tokyo will also smile on me"

Inès Boubakri regrets that fencing in Africa does not evolve much and does not count at the global level. " We lack resources. For example, young Tunisians did not have an internship before coming. African fencers are struggling to get out of their country to see what is happening elsewhere. Those who train abroad do better. Only the Egyptian Alaaeldin Abouelkassem entered the history of the sport by becoming the first African fencer to win a silver medal in foil at the London Olympics in 2012.

" I hope Tokyo will also smile on me. I will not do anything more than the other seasons. I will go on an internship in Asia before the Games to acclimatize to jet lag and climate, "concludes Inès Boubakri.

The marathon day is over. Tomorrow, Ines Boubakri will make a passage through Tunis before returning to France where she trains in Bourg-la-Reine in the Paris suburbs. This new gold medal won on the African continent will also have its place in his apartment. Waiting for the Olympic Grail!

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